Monday, July 20, 2009

Moon or Mars? Why Not Both?

As I have listened to Apollo 11 commentary today, it has seemed to me that the media has decided that the best way to entertain viewers is to have a debate called "Moon vs. Mars." I am happy to see so much discussion of space exploration in the media, of course. Unfortunately, however, this debate is far too narrow, and it is not the one we should be having 40 years after Apollo 11.

Rather than discussing whether NASA, an American government agency, ought to choose one or the other planetary bodies for its next major mission, we should be discussing what our planet as a whole ought to be doing to open up the solar system as our next frontier. As I discussed in The Overview Effect, such a "Human Space Program" would unite our planet and give us an exciting new adventure, focusing our energies outward into the universe. It would be the next logical consciousness-expanding step that our species ought to take.

I have called this next step in consciousness the "Copernican Perspective." Just as the Overview Effect is the realization that we are all part of one planet, the Copernican Perspective is the realization that we are all part of one solar system. Just as we needed the Effect, we now need the Perspective.

This is why I say, "The Moon or Mars: Why Not Both?

Frank White

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